Article by CBC Radio
A few weeks ago, at a medical conference for the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids in Toronto, things got heated. And that’s putting it nicely.
In attendance were scientists who study cannabis, physicians, pharmacists, and nurses. They were all there to discuss what should happen with medical cannabis policy, when the drug becomes legal for anyone to use.
When the Canadian Medical Association started to explain their position, things got ugly. That position in a nutshell? The powerful medical body wants to wash their hands of the medical cannabis program, once the drug is legal.
Others strongly disagree, which led to booing, hissing and ultimately the CMA representative walking out.
Differing opinions about medical cannabis
The CMA representative who walked out of that conference is Dr. Jeff Blackmer, the vice president of medical professionalism. He says the CMA has been vocal about its opposition to the medical cannabis system since the very beginning.
“Our view is really that now that the government is obviously intending to legalize this, once this is a substance that’s available to all Canadians, there’s really no need for physicians to continue to serve in that gatekeeper role.”
Whereas on the other side of the debate, Dr. Mark Ware — who was the executive director of the consortium that organized the conference and a medical cannabis researcher at McGill University —says Canada already has a Cannabis Act, which addresses medical uses.
“The worry I see with losing a medical program is it really completely takes the need for a clinician oversight out of the equation,” says Dr. Ware.